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Why Connectivity Matters: A Look at Network Downtime

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Network connectivity is crucial – when it falters, everything becomes challenging. In 2023, UK businesses suffered losses of £3.7 billion and over 50 million hours due to Internet downtime. Despite rapid digital transformation, especially in retail, unplanned IT outages remain a persistent problem. While immediate financial losses from network downtime are significant, the indirect costs can be even more damaging in the long run.

The information for this blog was sourced using Gamma. You can read the full story here

The Subtle Impact of Network Downtime

In today’s fast-paced world, customers expect their needs to be met instantly. Therefore, network downtime isn’t just an inconvenience; it’s a serious threat. Reliable and robust networks are essential to prevent downtime from becoming a major issue.

Common Causes of Network Outages

Understanding the causes of unplanned outages is key to preventing and remedying them. Some common causes include:

Human Error: Even well-trained IT professionals can make mistakes due to the complexity and stress of managing network infrastructure.

Hardware Failure: Older devices may overheat and degrade in performance, requiring continuous maintenance.

Cybersecurity Attacks: Ransomware and phishing attacks can exploit security gaps and cause significant disruptions.

Software Failure: Inadequate testing and irregular updates can lead to software vulnerabilities that disrupt the network.

Increased Demand: Failure to anticipate increased demand can cause network failures as infrastructures become more complex.

Factors Beyond Control: Power outages and natural disasters can disable network infrastructure for extended periods.

The Financial Toll of Downtime

For every minute a network is down, a business loses revenue. Over half of IT leaders cite revenue loss as their greatest challenge during an unplanned outage. Downtime can result in average losses of over £80,000 an hour, quickly escalating into millions if not resolved promptly. This loss impacts both physical and digital retail spaces, where POS devices and ecommerce platforms are vital.

The Customer Experience Dilemma

A significant 81% of organisations agree that customer experience is a key differentiator. When downtime occurs, customers suffer the most. After a single bad experience, one in three customers is likely to abandon a brand. Frequent outages erode trust and loyalty, causing customers to switch to competitors.

The Data Loss Challenge

Retail relies heavily on data-driven insights. Downtime disrupts the collection and utilisation of customer data, essential for personalised experiences and inventory management. Moreover, existing data can be corrupted or stolen during an outage, damaging reputation and customer trust.

The Productivity Plunge

As technology integrates into daily business operations, more tools are needed to keep everything functional. Downtime severely impacts employee productivity, with companies losing an average of 545 hours of productivity. Continued disruptions can lower employee morale and retention rates.

The Supply Chain Strain

Downtime affects the entire supply chain. Automation and IoT are crucial in warehouses and depots for processing orders, monitoring inventory, and maintaining product quality. Downtime disrupts these operations, leading to missed shipments, unmonitored stock, and spoiled products.

Overcoming Downtime with Innovative Infrastructure

Retailers must be proactive in transforming their network capabilities to prevent downtime. Partnering with an accredited managed service provider like 4th Platform can simplify this process. With proactive monitoring and dedicated support, the negative impacts of downtime can be minimised, ensuring strong connectivity and enhanced productivity.


While downtime presents a significant challenge, it is not insurmountable. By addressing the causes and working with experts like 4th Platform, retailers can achieve networking excellence and maintain seamless business operations.

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